Ewes Hall impressed with Riyad Mahrez’s free kick and Julien Alvarez’s long shot helped Manchester City defeat a pessimistic Chelsea side who can’t wait for the World Cup break.
The Blues had started well in an even match in the Carabao Cup at the Etihad Stadium, creating many openings but wasting their chances.
At the other end, they were foul-prone after the break, as Edward Mendy was tricked from his wall who failed to jump from Mahrez’s free kick.
Then a record counter-attack was not defended and Alvarez went home against tired Chelsea.
Nizar Kinsella was at the Etihad Stadium to witness the event…
Edward Mendy – 6
He looked shaky early on after Julian Alvarez grabbed him with his long kick cut. He produced a great save from Grealish in the 41st minute.
His saves were fantastic with two great saves early in the second half on Grealish once again. There was confusion over Mahrez’s free kick as he blamed the wall for not jumping to block the shot.
Trevoh Shloba – 5
Shaloba has played every minute for Chelsea since Wesley Fofana was injured on 5 October. Maybe something had to come in after that effort he plays every week. He finally came out to rest in the 68th minute.
Kaleido Coulibaly – 4
In only his second start since his last injury, he wasn’t convincing in early passes and tackles. His foul could have ended in his own goal, and Jack Grealish could have faced a much harsher punishment than his heavy tackle outside the penalty area. Alvarez played alongside him with a weak position in his attempt in the 29th minute.
It could be argued that the foul was scored by Mahrez’s free kick after he failed to jump into a wall. He seemed to deceive his guard, who was left on his heels as he rested in his net.
Mark Cucurella – 6
After Man City chased Cucurella all summer, he showed them what they had lost with a guaranteed show. His use of possession was key as Guardiola’s pressure targeted his left side. He made a save early in the second half on Mahrez, saving Mateo Kovacic in the process.
He still finds himself out of position for the second goal of City, which came after Mahrez’s attempt on his part.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6
Returning to the right-back in the permanent saga to cover the absence of Reece James. Loftus-Cheek produced a superb dribble in the 13th minute that almost led to the first goal. He was busy defending, but he performed his duties with class and discipline.
Mateo Kovacic – 6
Wearing the captain’s armband, he led the team by composure in the middle. They rarely gave up on him and released Christian Pulisic for a big chance in the first half.
Denise Zakaria – 6
He was strong but underwhelmed in the middle and was unable to impact the match as deeply as he did on his debut last week against Dinamo Zagreb. Substituted in the 68th minute.
Louis Hall – 7
The 18-year-old was only making his second appearance for Chelsea and found himself in a battle with a player of his age group, teammate Rico Luis born in 2004. He produced a superb dribble after 12 minutes to win a free kick. Unfortunately, he was caught midway through the first half but Manchester City missed their chance to punish Chelsea.
His sharp ball in the 34th minute was more typical of his hand that was solid throughout. He did just about everything right to score after getting at the end of Pulisic’s counterattack but the ball was well saved by Ortega.
Hakim Ziyech – 6
The Moroccan played fewer minutes than any other prominent member of the Chelsea squad this season, but his cross in the 13th minute almost scored Pulisic’s opening goal.
He was generally poor throughout but produced game skill, focusing on the touchline to save a poor Loftus-Cheek pass and creating a massive opportunity for Hall.
Armando Bruga – 5
He fired a powerful high and wide shot early in the first ten minutes. His straight run faltered at times, but it wasn’t enough to give Potter reason to ditch Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Saturday.
Christian Pulisic – 5
He took advantage of a good opportunity early after Ziyech’s cross, where the defender also got a touch. He put in a much better effort than his second shot after dribbling nearly 40 yards before Stefan Ortega made a good save. His speed in the break nearly broke the deadlock through Hall late in the first half. She finished the game at left back.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 6
He made a great cross in the 85th minute, but neither Kai Havertz nor Pulisic could reach it. He did it playing in the center of defence, trying to press for goals late on.
Conor Gallagher – 6
He was a more offensive option than Zakaria, he helped Chelsea with late goals, but he wasn’t transformative.
Mason Mountain – 7
His ability between the lines helped overlap Chelsea’s quick racers and create chances. It worked to some extent but it wasn’t enough. He almost scored in the 88th minute after a superb first touch that saved Gallagher’s cracked shot. He put the ball into the net late after a series of efforts but an offside was reported.
Raheem Sterling – 6
Sterling was hailed on his first appearance in the North West since leaving last summer. The heroes’ welcome to the player has always been a winner on this earth. He was tidy in possession and desperate to help his current club but failed to read the one big opportunity that Havertz had created.
Kai Havertz – 7
Shank hit his shot from 25 yards when he came on as a final substitute. He made a fatal cross in the last few minutes that could have brought Sterling, the Manchester City player, to his home, but Chelsea could not. Looking at his impact in the last ten minutes, it could be said that he should have come sooner.
Unused subs: Marcus Pettinelli; Thiago Silva; Hutchinson, Aubameyang
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